The Habitat for Humanity Women Build team stands outside a home on Keefer Street for a ceremonial groundbreaking. The team kicked off its sixth building season at a home they plan to fully renovate.

The Habitat for Humanity Women Build team stands outside a home on Keefer Street for a ceremonial groundbreaking. The team kicked off its sixth building season at a home they plan to fully renovate.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Habitat’s Women Build team kicks off season in Southfield

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published June 26, 2019

 Homeowner Tiffany Jones stands inside her home June 20.

Homeowner Tiffany Jones stands inside her home June 20.

Photo by Deb Jacques

SOUTHFIELD — It doesn’t look like much now, but it’ll soon be Tiffany Jones’ dream home.

An epic downpour didn’t stop Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build team from kicking off its sixth building season June 20.

The team met at the site of a new home they will rehabilitate, located at 22133 Keefer St., for a ceremonial groundbreaking.

Made up of over 65 female volunteers, the Women Build team has been around since 2014 and works alongside the homebuyers by donating their own money and time to work on the houses.

The team is made up of DIY newbies and veterans alike, and no home renovation experience is necessary to join, Women Build Chairwoman Johnna Struck said.

“I think what’s cool about this is sometimes women are intimidated by building, and there are other women who do this as their living, so it’s a nice mix of those who know and those who don’t know,” Struck said. “There’s no skill level required. I myself knew nothing about building. We teach you. We show you how to use different styles of tools. It’s kind of a very surreal type thing because you come in not knowing what to expect. You might be a little nervous or you might come in ready to take on the world, but it’s a blending of all those talents that bring a home to a family.”

Jones said she will be living in the home with her 11-year-old daughter and her 9-month-old daughter.

“Ultimately, homeownership has been a goal that I set for myself, and seeing the women out here participating in the build and remodel, it’s an accomplishment that I’m making in my life and something I can share with my girls,” she said.

Out of everything, Jones said she is most looking forward to relaxing in the home with her family.

“I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the finished product and just to see the transformation over time, and then just turning the key and bringing my family home every day and sitting down for meals,” she said.

A complete renovation is planned for the Jones home, Struck said.

“We’re going to rip up the whole outside. We’re going to redo windows, door jambs, all of that. Inside, there is a plan for two bedrooms on the main floor and a full bath and then a master bed upstairs with a bath also,” Struck said. “We’re planning on building a very large shed, which could possibly be used as a garage.”

Habitat Oakland Executive Director Tim Ruggles thanked the Women Build team for its hard work.

“This rain just proves that nothing stops this Women Build team,” Ruggles said. “I’m continually amazed by, No. 1, the commitment, the hard work, the financial dedication, and most of all, really, the compassion, because that’s what drives everything else.”

As the rain lashed, Struck assured Jones of the team’s commitment to making her house a home.

“Tiffany, I promise you: Our Women Build team makes magic. And this whole next year, we’re on this journey to build you a home that’s going to create stability and consistency,” Struck said. “We’re asking for a commitment from you, and we’re going to give you our commitment by telling you we are going to make this happen.”

Struck said the team is always looking for more volunteers and sponsors.

“The coolest thing is that every year this happens. Every year we pool our funds together. Every year we work and volunteer, and every year we deliver a finished home.”

For more information, visit habitatoakland.org/women-build or contact Community and Faith Manager Dena Vatalaro at (248) 321-9649 or denav@habitatoakland.org.